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Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes

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What is illusion―a deception, or a revelation? What is a poem―the truth, or “a diverting flash, / a mirror showing everything / but itself”? Nicky Beer’s latest collection of poems is a labyrinthine academy specializing in the study of subterfuge; Marlene Dietrich, Dolly Parton, and Batman are its instructors. With an energetic eye, she thumbs through our collective history What is illusion―a deception, or a revelation? What is a poem―the truth, or “a diverting flash, / a mirror showing everything / but itself”? Nicky Beer’s latest collection of poems is a labyrinthine academy specializing in the study of subterfuge; Marlene Dietrich, Dolly Parton, and Batman are its instructors. With an energetic eye, she thumbs through our collective history books―and her personal one, too―in an effort to chart the line between playful forms of duplicity and those that are far more insidious. Through delicious japery, poems that can be read multiple ways, and allusions ranging from Puccini’s operas to Law & Order, Beer troubles the notion of truth. Often, we settle for whatever brand of honesty is convenient for us, or whatever is least likely to spark confrontation―but this, Beer knows, is how we invite others to weigh in on what kind of person we are. This is how we trick ourselves into believing they’re right. “Listen / to how quiet it is when I lose the self-doubt played / for so long I mistook it for music.” Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes asks us to look through the stereoscope: which image is the real one? This one―or this one, just here? With wisdom, humility, and a forthright tenderness, Nicky Beer suggests that we consider both―together, they might contribute to something like truth.


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What is illusion―a deception, or a revelation? What is a poem―the truth, or “a diverting flash, / a mirror showing everything / but itself”? Nicky Beer’s latest collection of poems is a labyrinthine academy specializing in the study of subterfuge; Marlene Dietrich, Dolly Parton, and Batman are its instructors. With an energetic eye, she thumbs through our collective history What is illusion―a deception, or a revelation? What is a poem―the truth, or “a diverting flash, / a mirror showing everything / but itself”? Nicky Beer’s latest collection of poems is a labyrinthine academy specializing in the study of subterfuge; Marlene Dietrich, Dolly Parton, and Batman are its instructors. With an energetic eye, she thumbs through our collective history books―and her personal one, too―in an effort to chart the line between playful forms of duplicity and those that are far more insidious. Through delicious japery, poems that can be read multiple ways, and allusions ranging from Puccini’s operas to Law & Order, Beer troubles the notion of truth. Often, we settle for whatever brand of honesty is convenient for us, or whatever is least likely to spark confrontation―but this, Beer knows, is how we invite others to weigh in on what kind of person we are. This is how we trick ourselves into believing they’re right. “Listen / to how quiet it is when I lose the self-doubt played / for so long I mistook it for music.” Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes asks us to look through the stereoscope: which image is the real one? This one―or this one, just here? With wisdom, humility, and a forthright tenderness, Nicky Beer suggests that we consider both―together, they might contribute to something like truth.

30 review for Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes

  1. 5 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    These are formally and thematically interesting and accomplished poems, but they didn't move me emotionally which is pretty much all I want from poetry. I did really like the imagery in the poem "Small Claims Court": "I took the twenty-seven bones from my left hand / and made a xylophone on which to play you love songs. I dragged a wheelbarrow / of sugar backwards over the parking lot / so the ants could spell out your name." These are formally and thematically interesting and accomplished poems, but they didn't move me emotionally which is pretty much all I want from poetry. I did really like the imagery in the poem "Small Claims Court": "I took the twenty-seven bones from my left hand / and made a xylophone on which to play you love songs. I dragged a wheelbarrow / of sugar backwards over the parking lot / so the ants could spell out your name."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sherwestonstec

    This was an amazing book of contemporary poetry. Very visual. I especially enjoyed the stereoscopic man series. I highly recommend this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    REAL PHONIES AND GENUINE FAKES by Nicky Beer has such an awesome cover and the poems are great too! I really enjoyed reading this poetry book! I love how this cover perfectly matches the opening poem Drag Day at Dollywood which features multiple Dolly Partons. I loved how several of the poems have fun references to pop culture including Duckie Dale, Batman and David Bowie. I also enjoyed how so many different poem forms were utilized. My fave poem is Exclusive Interview. I loved that I’ve never REAL PHONIES AND GENUINE FAKES by Nicky Beer has such an awesome cover and the poems are great too! I really enjoyed reading this poetry book! I love how this cover perfectly matches the opening poem Drag Day at Dollywood which features multiple Dolly Partons. I loved how several of the poems have fun references to pop culture including Duckie Dale, Batman and David Bowie. I also enjoyed how so many different poem forms were utilized. My fave poem is Exclusive Interview. I loved that I’ve never read a poem like it before and how it left me with questions. . Shoutout to Mary Speaker for the cover design and Dane Shue for the cover art! . Thank you to Milkweed Editions for my uncorrected proof!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really love Nicky Beer's writing. Even though not every single poem really resonated with me personally, they're all beautifully written. I didn't expect anything less after enjoying The Diminishing House so much. (One of these days, I need to check out The Octopus Game.) I really love Nicky Beer's writing. Even though not every single poem really resonated with me personally, they're all beautifully written. I didn't expect anything less after enjoying The Diminishing House so much. (One of these days, I need to check out The Octopus Game.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    It's difficult for me to write poetry reviews. All art is subjective but I find poetry to be especially subjective. There were a few poems in the collection that I really enjoyed. Most I found okay. It's difficult for me to write poetry reviews. All art is subjective but I find poetry to be especially subjective. There were a few poems in the collection that I really enjoyed. Most I found okay.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Awoman

    Let me just say: There is NOTHING Biblical about this book. People know I try to stick with Biblical and non-offending material. This is just my "Disclaimer". This is a new book the library in my county purchased recently. It is 90 pages long and I was able to read it in one night. It is what I call "pop poetry". A few of the poems did make me smile, others I got the idea that she was struggling to come up with something and I was not impressed. It's like karaoke: hit or miss. Why I read this book Let me just say: There is NOTHING Biblical about this book. People know I try to stick with Biblical and non-offending material. This is just my "Disclaimer". This is a new book the library in my county purchased recently. It is 90 pages long and I was able to read it in one night. It is what I call "pop poetry". A few of the poems did make me smile, others I got the idea that she was struggling to come up with something and I was not impressed. It's like karaoke: hit or miss. Why I read this book? I saw it advertised in a new free magazine my library was handing out last month and the first couple pages were poetry books published recently. I LOVE poetry! Unfortunately, the library system in my county has some unknown person up at headquarters who picks and chooses which materials the county is going to purchase. It is very well known this person hates poetry with the very fabric of their being, but loves pornography. I will come clean, I was the one who put the request in certain they were going to say "NO!!!!!". I made certain they knew that it was advertised in their "Book Page Magazine". Well, three weeks later it was checked out to me and in my hands. It was a "Twilight Zone" moment... it still is a "Twilight Zone" moment. I can only recommend it to people who like such subject matter, even if they hate poetry.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    a varied collection approaching the subject of illusion and the reasons why we choose to make it - and how art, in its own way, is the greatest illusion. the section devoted to the stereoscopic man is particularly inventive. not quite an emotional grab so much as an intellectual one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    A very enthralling meditation on how we are often more illusion than human.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeimy

    Lesson learned: Pop-cultural, stream-of-consciousness poetry is not my thing. The only reason it is not a one-star review is because I was amused by several of its lines.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennica

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amps210

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cass

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Larson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kennedy Parrish

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn O

  16. 4 out of 5

    DeRosia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rogene Carter

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Suchon

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  21. 4 out of 5

    K.C. Bratt-Pfotenhauer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benji Geyer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeniece Goellner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Hockenbury

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  28. 5 out of 5

    Willow Curry

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kara Nesvig

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter

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